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Azeez defies quit urgings over TH-1MDB fiasco
Published:  May 10, 2015 4:15 AM
Updated: 4:55 AM

Tabung Haji (TH) chairperson Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim has refused to resign despite a growing chorus demanding that he step down over the fund's controversial purchase of land from cash-strapped 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).


This, he said, is because he had not done anything that resulted in a loss for TH, according to a Sinar Harian report today.


"For two days I have remained silent instead of responding. I waited because I wanted to know what issue would be played up.


"It turned out to be political issues and they (critics) wants to involve me as the TH chairperson (with the controversy).


"What connection is there? If I had lost money for LTH, then they can ask me to resign," he was quoted as saying.


Furthermore, Abdul Azeez said he had proven his credibility as TH's performance had improved.


"Before this, TH paid a dividend of 5.5 percent. Alhamdulillah, coincidentally after I became chairperson and my other colleagues joined the TH board, we have paid six percent (annual dividend) plus two percent (hajj bonus) which made it eight percent in 2013.


"And last year, we paid 6.25 percent (annual dividend) and another two percent (hajj bonus) which made it 8.25 percent," he added.


Abdul Azeez also said his career in TH should not be linked to his Umno membership.


Since yesterday, several leaders including Bukit Bendera MP Zairil Khir Johari ( photo ) and PAS vice president Husam Musa, have urged the TH board to step down.


TH was embroiled in controversy after it paid RM188.5 million for 1.56 acres of 1MDB's 70-acre Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) land.


1MDB had purchased the entire 70 acres from the government for a mere RM194.1 million.


This translates to a purchase of RM2,773 per square feet by TH, while 1MDB bought the land for only RM64 per square feet from the government.


The purchase was seen as a bailout to help 1MDB which is struggling to repay its massive RM42 billion debt.


Following the firestorm over the purchase, including angry reactions from within Umno, Abdul Azeez yesterday announced the land would be resold to a third party as soon as possible ,to give people peace of mind.


He assured that TH would make a profit from it.


TH is a fund contributed from among largely village folks for their future pilgrimage to Mecca and is a sensitive topic among Muslims.


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